Carlos Rodon (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

Astros Stable of Young Hurlers Likely to Get a Boost

The focus, for good reason, is on the upcoming 2014 season. We know that the going will likely be difficult for the Astros on the field in the first few months of the year, but also that the clouds are beginning to part.

Not only are young players like Robbie Grossman and Marc Krauss having successful springs, but we are also seeing flashes of what top prospects George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, and Carlos Correa can do. And then we have Mark Appel who looks to be on track to starting his second professional season on time, or at least close to it.

Appel figures to be a dominant force at the top of Houston’s rotation for the next 10-15 years. And in June, he figures to be joined by a left-handed partner in crime. The Astros have the first overall pick once again in 2014, and Carlos Rodon looks to be the choice.

The North Carolina State hurler is rumored to be Jeff Luhnow’s selection in June when the Astros are on the clock. Luhnow and the Astros have been scouting Rodon for some time now, and the General Manager was in attendance for his start Friday night.

As per his usual mode of operation, we don’t have any public comments from Luhnow about Rodon, but we do know that there is clear interest. Why else would Luhnow personally attend his start?

And there is good reason as to why Rodon is likely to be Houston’s next number one pick. In Friday’s start against Florida State, Rodon struck out 12 batters in 6.2 innings giving up five hits and two runs in a losing effort. This drops Rodon’s record to 2-3 on the season, but that doesn’t matter. It is clear Rodon has top of the rotation stuff, and he would form an excellent one-two punch with Appel.

So far this season, Rodon has a 2.45 ERA in his five starts with one complete game among his 36.2 innings pitched. Rodon has allowed 27 hits and 11 walks while striking out 42 batters.


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  • Osiris3657

    You may want to rethink this. Draft guru Keith Law had the following to say about Rodon last Thursday:

    Q: Is Carlos Rodon overrated?
    A: He hasn’t pitched up to expectations – fastball has been average,
    command average or a tick below, and he’s not missing bats. I thought a
    month ago he was the clear 1-1 pick, but now I don’t see it.

    Q: If Rodon is no longer the clear 1-1, has anyone moved ahead of him, in your opinion?
    A: I’ll have a ranking up some time next week. I don’t think there’s
    anyone who’s clearly 1-1, but I think Rodon’s been passed by a few guys.
    Could make a cogent argument for him to be behind any of Kolek,
    Gatewood, Jackson, Hoffman, Beede. Oh, I forgot Brady Aiken – prep lefty who was 94-97 in an inning in an exhibition game vs Alex Jackson last Saturday, with a plus CB too.

    Q: Hoffman, Beede, Kolek: who has the highest ceiling and who has the highest probability?
    A: Hoffman. Plus-plus athlete with easy velocity and the potential for a
    plus curveball. Always bet on great athletes. Beede is the safe guy of
    the three, probably pitches at 92-93 when he’s every fifth day, while
    Kolek … you can’t exactly go wrong with a 6’7″ monster who legitimately
    hits 100+. A:

    Q: Weren’t you pretty confident of Rodon as not just the obvious 1-1,
    but as one of the best prospects of the last few years? It’s not like
    you’re dropping him out of the 1st round, but do you remember anyone
    else falling so fast from such a height?
    A: I thought he was the obvious 1-1, but argued that he wasn’t Strasburg
    or Harper. He wasn’t that kind of elite, but he was a lot better than
    he’s been so far this year – and given that he’s had some back trouble
    in the past and he doesn’t offer physical projection, I can easily
    understand why scouts/execs are backing away from him.

    Q: Just to be clear – You won’t be shocked if in three months, Rodon
    is back to being the clear 1-1, right? It’s early, and he’s had a few
    sub-par starts.
    A: I wouldn’t be shocked, no, but your characterization isn’t accurate.
    It’s not about subpar performance; it’s about lack of the tools, other
    than the slider, that would make him the 1-1 guy.

    • Ray_Kuhn_28

      Thanks for the info on that. This is certainly interesting, as I did think it was pretty much a foregone conclusion Rodon would be the guy. The preferable option would be one guy, such as Rodon, to really stand out, but at least there are some options.

      • Osiris3657

        One thing to keep in mind is that he started slow last year as well, and then dominated. I think the most concerning thing about Rodon is the ebbs and flows in his fastball velocity. Some days (or even within the same game) he’ll be throwing low 90′s, then throw mid 90′s the next time out. The question is, why the inconsistency? Injury? Bad mechanics? Saving his energy?

        Ideally you’d like a guy that brings the same stuff to the table every time he pitches.

        • Ray_Kuhn_28

          yeah that is interesting. Because pretty much he has been considered the number one pick for about a year, so you have to wonder about the effort, etc. Hopefully these are questions the Astros are asking